Magazine article Russian Life

Vasily Alekseyev

Magazine article Russian Life

Vasily Alekseyev

Article excerpt

LEGENDARY WEIGHTLIFTER VASILY Alexeyev, who trained himself to fame and overcame a crushing illness to set dozens of world records, died of heart problems in November as an overlooked pensioner in a coal town.

Alexeyev was brought up in a small town in Ryazan region and as a young man worked in the timber industry, using a rod from a cargo trolley as his first weightlifting bar. He set his first world record (210 kilos) at 28, and by the time he retired he was in the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the most world records in the super-heavyweight category.

Sports Illustrated called Alexeyev "the world's strongest man" when he was at the zenith of his career, yet those who knew him always described him as modest and unpretentious, and he was known to be intolerant of doping.

In 1968, doctors pronounced him legally handicapped due to stress on his spinal disks, but he worked his way back into professional sport by inventing weightlifting equipment that allowed him to keep lifting. …

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